March '20

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42 THE SHOP MARCH 2020 42 THE SHOP MARCH 2020 been through a credit of some kind toward a future job. Others have been for some- thing to be done on their personal vehicle in the future. However, my preference is straight cash. Yes, if rewarded with the universal gift of money, people seem to be much more easily swayed. Also, instead of just delivering cash or a check every time they earn a reward, you can now make it more professional. Nowa- days you can find a company to work with such as Netspend that will help you with a rewards program so that the money is put onto a reloadable debit card. This makes for a much easier transaction for you and your customers and also seems to have a more professional feel. How do you stop a program or change it? None of us really wants to pay out rewards forever—we would all rather use it to our advantage when we want to build up sales or market a particular product. So, with that in mind, plan to change your program either monthly or quarterly. For instance, offer a reward on a couple of products and then, when the month is up, change it up and offer the reward on something else. The way you can explain how the pro- gram works is that you as a business have partnered with your supplier, vendor or manufacturer and have teamed up to offer the reward. This way they don't think it is 100% from you. In fact, you can allude to the fact that your manufacturers have control of which rewards you offer. Don't be afraid of approaching your sup- pliers to see if they will help you offset some of the expenses of a rewards or loyalty program. Either way, by explaining the pro- gram this way, you can then change or even stop the rewards at any time and have more control over what you want to accomplish without upsetting your customers. Who knows about it? If you plan to offer rewards to cer- tain dealership employees, make sure you do it on the up-and-up, meaning that you get it approved by the owner or at least management. The last thing you want to do is offer a reward to a sales staff that wants it, only to find out that the dealer principal won't allow it. Then you have not only upset the owner, but you have upset the sales staff, too. So, think and plan it out, but at the same time do your homework to make sure it is allowed. Yes, it takes effort and planning, but a loyalty program can be rewarding for you and your customers! JOSH POULSON is the prin- cipal of Auto Additions in Columbus, Ohio, which was named Restyler of the Year, 2012-'13. Auto Additions offers a complete line of product upgrades including 12-volt and appearance packages with a specific focus on the dealer- ship segment. Josh is chair-elect of the SEMA PRO council and was named 2015-'16 Person of the Year at the 2015 SEMA Show. Cash rewards placed on a reloadable debit card can lend a professional touch to your wholesale incentive programs. EMPLOYEE REWARDS Many times, we think about a rewards program to grow our sales and build customer loyalty—but the same can be accomplished by offering a rewards program to your own employees. Your internal sales can grow, your production can go up, the morale of the staff can be built up—there are many positives that can be gained with a good rewards program. You'll want to make sure that it is fair and attainable for all employees. One time we were having a problem with our technicians calling off work. I did some research and found that two of our 12 techs had not called off in the last month. We had a meeting and discussed some concerns and also some solu- tions, but at the end of the meeting I gave those two employees each a $50 bill and thanked them for being on time and at work every day for the past month. Then I told everyone that next month I was going to do the same thing. I didn't know how it would go, but the next month I handed out 10 $50 bills instead of just two, and I was happy to do it. At that point, I realized that we needed some incentives from time to time for certain employees. So, we creatively came up with some ways that workers could either earn some bonus money or gain some extra time off. To this day, the morale has remained good and now the culture is being on time and not calling off. —Josh Poulson A PLAN FOR PROFIT$

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